(0212) Gran Caracas [draft I]

Thick, ashy smog;
Cool breeze rustling through mango trees
A symphony of honking and hydraulic hisses: buses
Countless stray dogs bark hungry,
scrounging bones from leftover tin box lunches

The bent sound of brassy salsa brava
escaping a zooming car
incessant chatter, thousands of anonymous voices
fill ears with desire, humor, and argument

Taxi driver vociferating four-letter words to
distracted pedestrian, glued to his Blackberry,
lips flapping on, middle finger responding;
hacking coughs, cat-calls, cackling gossip
and a pigeon’s flutter

Pick-up truck U-turning at main avenue curb
Collective expletives explode, horns and cop whistles
Driver’s satisfied grin as arms quickly steer onto road:
Viveza criolla –the homeland’s cunning- lives on

Massive ring of lush mountains
battle concrete mammoths to stroke blue skies;
Acrid sewage competes with fried ripe plantains
for nostrils’ attention; sweet, feminine scents trump all

Viejas wave numbered tickets in line to impervious public officer,
as tiny Chevy Aveos speed through yellow lights into rush-hour gridlock;
impatience permeates, until tensions shatter at the sound of
witty Caraqueño punch lines and laughter

Fiery sun slowly hides,
leaving bright trails of orange, pink firmament

Asphalt arteries shine, white and red
Quick hollow pops awaken valley of bullets; primetime novelas
switch on, as middle-class gates shut closed for the evening
Control, cardinal, conurbation, capital

Caracas, Venezuela

Published by vcmarcano

Vanessa C. Marcano-Kelly is a native of Caracas, Venezuela. She is a certified court interpreter in Iowa and a translator. She is a member of the Iowa Interpreters and Translators' Association and the Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters, with significant experience in community interpreting, translation, and journalism in English and Spanish. Vanessa has interpreted in community meetings with the Polk County Sheriff, the US Department of Labor, former US Congressman Tom Latham, and at the Food Sovereignty Prize 2014 in Des Moines. She graduated with honors with a BA in Global Studies and French from South Dakota State University, and received a judiciary interpretation and translation specialization certificate from Des Moines Area Community College. She works as a court interpreter in the Des Moines metro, and as a translator for Principal Financial Group, a Fortune 500 company. She has written for several publications, including the Venezuelan magazine Estetica y Salud, and has a passion for linguistics/languages, photography, community involvement, healthier living and travel. Vanessa runs a bilingual, bicultural household with her husband, Michael. Her immediate family lives in Venezuela, Lithuania and the US.

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